Seared Balsamic Chicken (Paleo)

 

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Gluten Free Stir-Fry With Zucchini Noodles & Spicy Peanut Sauce

I love Asian cuisine, especially sushi...mmmm, sushi...

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How To Cook The Perfect Spaghetti Squash

 If you haven't figured out how awesome spaghetti squash is, now is the time. If you want or need to eat gluten free, are following the Paleo or Fodmap diet, or just want to eat healthier in general, the trusty spaghetti squash is your friend. Once cooked it comes out like...well, spaghetti noodles. Not only are you upping your vegetable intake, but a spaghetti squash in season will probably be cheaper than a box of gluten free noodles (yay!)Funny enough, most of the time I hear the reason people don't eat more of this amazing squash is because they're not really sure how to prepare it. Yes, I've watched the tutorials too on how to cook one, but it wasn't until I accidently did it different that it turned out perfect and delicious. Now I prepare it like this all the time. How did it happen, you ask? Well, it all started a few years back when I tried cooking my first spaghetti squash to use in place of pasta. I may have skimmed the how-to a little too quickly that said I was supposed to cook the squash face down. I cooked it face up. After painstakingly scraping the tasteless, dried squash noodles from the skins I decided that next time I would add a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. So I did. And that turned out much better. Then one day when I was distracted with nerf gun projectiles and the endless struggle to find the matching Barbie shoe, I accidently set the oven hotter than usual. Halfway through cooking I realized my mistake and to alleviate the possibility of dried out squash noodles again, I turned it face down and lowered the heat. And....it turned out to be perfectly roasted, flavorful al dente squash noodles! And the moral of the story is...sometimes an accidentally mess up isn't a mess up at all, but the path to the perfection who've been seeking. (Pretty deep, I know.) Here's how to cook the perfect spaghetti squash...

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Chilled Tomato Basil & Roasted Squash Soup (Gluten Free)

Soup seems like a silly thing to make in the heat of the summer...but not this soup. This soup utilizes fresh vegetables from your summer garden. And the best part is, it can be served chilled. I know what you may be thinking, "Umm, I don't do cold soup." Well, I used to think the same thing. Then, as I was enjoying some catered appetizers at a wedding reception recently I picked up a little bowl of cool tomato basil soup. And what do you know? I really liked it!So I set out to recreate my version of this cool summer soup that can also be served warm on a crisp fall night. The problem was I had eaten all but 4 of the fresh tomatoes I'd gotten from grandma's garden. As I paced around my kitchen, taking inventory of what I had to work with, I passed by for the upteenth time this week a huge banana squash that had been given to me. Hmmmm....this could work. I had been wondering how to get my kids to eat up this squash. Hiding it in a tasty soup could be just the trick. Turns out it, that was a good choice!* If you don't have a banana squash you could also use any other year round squash like butternut or cushaw. Or if you're making this in the fall try pumpkin or acorn squash. No matter what squash you use, follow the same roasting directions.I paired it up with some Seared Balsamic Chicken for a filling and healthy dinner. Yummy!

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Fresh Fiesta Salad & Salsa Dressing

  I love summer rain storms. They don't roll around often enough where I'm at, but when they do it's like heaven. In fact, I'm almost certain heaven smells like a summer rain. I take a deep breath and feel re-energized despite the sleepless night of a baby who's teething and an early morning because the kids want to find a good spot to watch the parade. Now that the blazing sun has evaporated any traces of the curling clouds and it's cooling rain and we're all tired from the parade starting 20 minutes late, I'm in need of another pick-me-up. Instead of caffeine or sugar I choose to nourish myself with fresh from the garden veggies. 

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Gluten Free Zucchini Fritters

  Summer and excessive amounts of zucchini go hand-in-hand! This time of year my kiddos are bound to find things like tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and zucchini hidden somewhere in their meal. The sneakier I am at hiding them, the better they are at eating them. Like in gluten free zucchini bread. So I decided to make some Gluten Free Zucchini Fritters and guess what? They didn't seem to notice that they were eating zucchini cakes! I had made zucchini fritters years ago before going gluten free and as far and I can tell when making fritters there are two ways to go about it - sweet or savory. I chose savory, which involves flavors like fresh basil and parsley, parmesan cheese and garlic. Traditional fritters usually call for bread crumbs or flour to help hold everything together. So I used the next best, gluten free thing...oat flour. Oat flour (made from gluten free oatmeal that has been ground into a flour-like consistency) acts just like wheat flour in most recipes. Unlike other gluten free flours you don't have to make an elaborate blend or add gums like guar gum or xanthan gum to make it stay together either. Plus, oats are full of fiber, antioxidants, boosts immune system, and so much more. If you're a nerd like me, you can read all about oats, one of world's healthiest foods here.  Now for the fritters! (Makes 12+ zucchini fritters. About 3-4 inches across) 4 cups zucchini shredded, drained and squeezed dry 1 cup oat flour 2 eggs 2 tsp. sea salt 1/2 tsp. black pepper 2 clove garlic 1/3 cup parmesan cheese 4-5 fresh basil leaves 3-4 sprigs fresh parsley, stems removed 2-3 tbsp. coconut oil Grate the zucchini and place in a strainer in the sink or set in a bowl. Allow the water to drain off the zucchini for about 10 minutes. While it's draining you can pulse the oats in a food processor or blender until it becomes oat flour. Take a clean dish towel and squeeze out all the remaining liquid out of the zucchini. Add the zucchini, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic, parmesan, basil, and parsley to the oat flour in the food processor. Blend everything together until it's nice and evenly chopped and mixed. Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle (preheated to 325) and drizzle on some of the coconut oil. Once the oil's hot take a spoonful of the fritter paste, shape into a patty (it will be sticky, that's okay), and get it cooking. It should only take about 5-6 minutes per side. Once both sides are a nice golden brown set them on a plate to cool. Serve warm. Eat them as a side to some grilled chicken for dinner or place a slice of tomato and mozzarella in between two fritters and have a fritter bruschetta sandwich for lunch! Enjoy!         

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The Power Of Food

There's been so much going on in my little world lately. I just learned that I will be doing a regular monthly cooking segment on Good Things Utah and I'm loving sharing recipes and what I've learned with my readers and friends here on Food L'amor! All this on top of a healthy, busy family has made me feel so grateful and more motivated. I find myself wanting to stop and tuck myself away in a quiet corner to read an inspired book or two, listen to inspired speakers, and meditate on my own thoughts. I've come to better understand some powerful things lately... Food for one. Food is powerful! On a molecular level we literally are what we eat. Each system in the body is connected and interdependent on the others for growth, maintenance and renewal. And it all begins with what we put into our mouths. I witnessed the power and effect of the food my daughter was eating before the doctors knew she was experiencing an autoimmune response. I've felt and seen the difference in myself since cutting out all the over-processed foods from my own diet. I've discovered that how one chooses to treat the body day in and day out can ultimately result in how well and how long a life can be. Aside from outside factors, the day by day choices of what is put into the body, and if it's exercised or not, will yield a constant result. Just like falling off a roof will always result in hitting the ground. The laws that govern our bodies are just as sure. Food is powerful!My second realization is that women are powerful! Not in the "I can do or be anything" kind of powerful. I'm not initiating a discussion on equality or a battle of the sexes. I believe there are divine characteristic that are specific to men and women. Women seem to have an natural compass that points North. A magnetism. Almost like a gravitational pull that can (if she is in tune with it) keep herself, her family, and her friends, all centered on what's most important. The influence and insight a good woman can provide is immeasurable and not because she can do or be anything, but because she doesn't have to in order to have her influence felt.E.T. Sullivan wrote in his book The Treasure Chest, "When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way. He doesn't stir up earthquakes or send forth his thunderbolts, Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home out of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother's heart, and she puts it into the baby's mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies."  And I might add, the woman who took the time to cultivate herself enough to respond to her inner compass and the whisperings of the spirit. Women are powerful! 

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Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

Maybe it has something to do with sensory development or something, but seriously what is it about  finger foods and kids? I'm not complaining, I'm just wondering why my children opt to use their hands to eat instead of their forks (and I'm not just talking about my 1 year old). Most of the time I demand table manners and the use of modern eating utensils, but to curb whatever primal need they have to use their hands to eat, I make finger food. Over the last several years we've come a long way in teaching our children how to make good, healthy food choices. (Here is our family's 5 Philosophies for Raising Healthy Eaters). No more mystery meat chicken nuggets or bleached wheat flour pizza dripping with cheese. Now-a-days I make made-from-scratch, gluten free finger food that tastes good and is good for you too! Having fun eating it is a bonus ;) 

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Peachy Herb Quinoa Salad with Rosemary-Lavender Scented Dressing

 I'll take a bunch of fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden or the orchard over store-bought any day. This is by far the most cost effective way to get cheap organic produce. I didn't get a garden planted this year so when my sister-in-law told me that one of her co-workers had a large overly abundant garden and chicken eggs, I said, "absolutely!" I ended up with fresh eggs, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, fresh basil leaves, and peaches.  I may have also helped myself to some fresh mint and tomatoes from grandma's garden as well. ;)I can't even begin to express how appreciative I am for cheap or free produce. When you choose to follow a healthy, clean eating, gluten free diet you are going to go through LOTS of fresh fruits and veggies. Now, times that by four kids and the health food foodie (me) and that can add up to be LOTS of green (no I'm not talking about spinach). Especially if you choose to buy organic. Which I do as much as possible. (If you don't have a farmer's market or friendly garden growers near you here's my list for the best organic and clean eating deals from Costco) Organic produce {produce that has been grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or genetic engineering} ends up being full of flavor and nutrients, but not always an award winning size or shape. Like the peaches I got that were closer to the size of an apricot, but that still packed a delicious punch of peachy flavor. I could go into a whole monologue about the metaphor of life....(insert moving, wistful music)Life is like a garden. Each fruit and flower is a product of the care and  attention given to it. It doesn't matter how much miracle grow or bug repellent is used, it could never change the nature of the seed. A peach seed can never become anything other than a peach. It won't bloom into an apple or grow vines and sprout tomatoes. The peach's inborn, divinely inherent characteristic allows the seed to develop into just what it was meant to be.....unless of course it's genetically modified from it's original state and enhanced until it's the size of a grapefruit....Okay, that monologue didn't quite go the way I'd hoped. Needless to say I'll take my produce in the most natural form I can get. This Mint, Basil & Lavender Scented Quinoa Salad has a subtle sweet and savory flavor that is enhanced by the ever so slight hint of lavender. It was even better the next day. You could make this salad in the morning before work and have it ready to go for a light side to dinner or to take along to a picnic.Serves 4Mint and Basil (Herb) Quinoa Salad2 cups vegetable or chicken broth 1 cup red, white, or black quinoa (I mixed red and white). Rinsed.1 large or 2-3 small peaches. Rinsed, pitted, and sliced into wedges1 green onion, chopped3-4 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped or torn4-5 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped or tornRosemary and Lavender Scented Dressing1 tbsp. raw honey1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil1/8 tsp. sea saltpinch black pepper1 tsp. dry rosemary or half a sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped

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Gluten-Free Sweet Biscotti Trifle

  "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must...undergo the fatigue of supporting it."    - Thomas Paine

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Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Bread

 

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10 Delicious & Gluten-Free Ways to Enjoy Watermelon

For me, celebrating Independence Day is almost as exciting as Christmas! I love the fireworks, the stirring reminder of patriotism, and the feeling of unity as citizens of a nation I am proud to be part of. I don't know about the rest of you, but the smell of fireworks and summer just isn't complete without watermelon. I'm a purist when it comes to watermelon. Big slices of cold deep pink goodness sitting on a piece of newspaper to catch the seeds and juice dripping off your chin - it's bliss. But sometimes it's fun to take this fruit and dress it up, blend it up, and otherwise use it to make everything it touches taste sweet and fresh.  I guess what I'm trying to say is...it's summer - let the watermelon madness begin!  Here I've collected 10 unique, gluten free, and delicious ways to enjoy everyone's favorite melon!....I'm going to need more watermelon.

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Italian Roasted Potato Salad

  

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Watermelon Bruschetta With Marinated Basil Cucumbers & Feta

 Okay, don't these just look pretty? You could serve them up as a side to some Hawaiian Pork Shish Kabobs or Fired Up Pork Ribs or as an appetizer. I'm thinking a 4th of July picnic or barbecue may feel just a bit fancier and be a bit healthier with these Watermelon Bruschetta with Marinated Basil Cucumbers & Feta in place of a bag of chips. FYI: Just as fair warning, these yummy appetizers are, not surprisingly, a little messy between the watermelon juice and the cucumber marinade. Be sure to serve on a plate with adequate napkins. Start with your bruschetta. You'll need approximately one quarter of a medium-sized seedless watermelon, rinds removed and sliced into small 3/4 inch thick rectangles.Basil Cucumber Marinade 1 large or 2 small cucumbers quartered and chopped. About 2 cups worth1 small sweet onion, finely chopped (I used a Vidalia onion, but a sweet red onion works too) 1/4 cup raw honey1/3 cup apple cider vinegar1 tbsp. olive oil1/2 tsp. ground mustard1/2 tsp. sea salt1/4 black pepper1 garlic clove,  minced3 sprigs parsley, chopped (or 1 tbsp. dried parsley)5 basil leaves, roughly chopped (chopped extra if you have it for garnishing)Chop the cucumber and onion. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade and whisk together. Pour over the cucumber and onion and stir. Put a lid on and set in the fridge for 1-3 hours to marinate. When you're ready to serve, set the watermelon bruschetta out on a plate and top each with a tablespoon of the cucumbers. Sprinkle a little crumbled feta cheese and the extra basil on top. This can serve a crowd, but is best cold so only put it all together when you're ready to eat. Enjoy! 

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Cajun Chicken Kabobs

The deep South is known for it's great barbecues and after my visit to the south recently, I got inspired to make some Cajun-style kabobs! This dinner was light, flavorful, fun (cause my kids love finger food), and yummy. Plus, this dinner just has summer written all over it! 

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Fresh Paleo Peach Pie

  Fresh peaches are showing up at farmers' markets and grocery stores everywhere now that summer is well underway. I love the smell and taste of a perfectly ripe peach. Mmmm, there is just something about them that requires you to relax.  I love to sink my teeth in and let the juice run down my chin, but there are lots of other delicious ways to serve and enjoy all those summer peaches too....Peach Meringue and Maple Vinegar Glazed Nectarines (or peaches) are some of my favorites for a quick dessert. Making it Paleo (gluten free, grain free, sugar free) eliminates the worry about whether you'll be able to shimmy into your swimsuit after eating it.

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Gluten Free Road Trip: Success!

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Orange Creamsicles (Gluten Free/Dairy Free)

Hello summer! Time for something cold and sweet! Let's skip the sugar-laden, artificially colored, ingredients-I-can't-pronounce kind of treats and eat something that makes you feel as good as it tastes. Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, delicious Orange Creamsicles!  The best thing about these yummy treats isn't just that they taste amazing...well, yes it is...okay, one of the best things is that this recipe is versatile! You can pour it into Popsicle molds or if you have an ice cream maker you can turn it into Dairy Free Orange Sherbet Ice Cream!

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Lemon Dill Asparagus

  Today the sky is azure blue. Birds are chirping a sonata of melodies each their own while a lizard does some vertical sunbathing on the back wall. Life in nature always seems so constant, so predictable, and peaceful. I sometimes watch the goings on of the usual wildlife that surround my home and think...I wish I had it that easy. Of course, then I'm reminded of all those Discovery Channel shows that delve into the "real" life of animals and suddenly I'm reminded that their existence isn't easy, just less complicated.

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Cantaloupe Caprese

 I get asked the question when people find out our family eats gluten free and minimal refined sugars, "So what do you eat? Vegetables?" Yes. Yes, we eat a lot of vegetables, but I promise there is so much more to food than wheat flours and sugar. There are so many more healthy options than "just vegetables" (although I do love me some vegetables.)Sometimes I have to get creative, but a lot of the time I just go with what's really simple. Here is my really simple, healthy, gluten free, sugar free, delicious snack or appetizer....Cantaloupe Caprese! It's the best when the cantaloupe is cold and sweet, the mozzarella is a little cooler than room temperature, and the basil is freshly picked. Skewer the cantaloupe, basil, and mozzarella onto a large toothpick or trimmed bamboo skewer. Bring to your next barbecue or get together for a yummy, healthy, and simple appetizer.Enjoy!  

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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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